“What’s your brand?”

It was a question that Rell had never heard from anyone before, but it came at a time when Rell had many questions of his own. Why did it feel like everyone around him work was advancing in their leadership skills, while he felt stuck in the same old routine? How did they do it? What was their secret?

As a participant in MCLP, Rell’s friend Damien knew where Rell could find the answers. So Rell applied to the program, only to find himself confronted by more questions from the moment he read the application.

What’s your definition of a leader? What’s your definition of diversity?

“Those two questions puzzled me,” Rell admitted, “and they made me think that the answer truly wasn’t what I thought it was.”

If anything, Rell learned that much of what he assumed to be true and straightforward became much more complex after looking at an issue from many perspectives other than his own.

By the end, not only did Rell gain a more holistic perspective on his identity as a leader, but he also learned more about his community. For his team project, Rell worked to increase revenue for the Milestones Early Learning Center, a non-profit that provides affordable day care and education for children, and even after completing the program, Rell felt called to continue supporting their cause by joining their board of directors.

“As an adult, sometimes you become mindful of only the things around you. It’s programs like MCLP that help give you that platform to tie you to the community, to help you know a little more about the community and its needs.”

That desire to fill the needs of the community by offering up his time and talents has remained with Rell as he sits on several local nonprofit boards that support education and youth, two of Rell’s big passions. Some of his friends can’t help but laugh at his eagerness to help, but he is happy to laugh alongside them, because he finally has the answer to the initial question that led him down the road to MCLP.

“Be the brand that you want to be, and never let someone else make your brand for you. I truly believe that because we can go around making the misconception of anyone along the way, but you truly don’t know that person. So to be authentic, I have allowed myself to try to make an impact wherever I can.”

With MCLP, Rell has done more than define his “brand” of a leader. He lives it.

Do Rell’s questions sound familiar? You can learn to live a life of leadership by taking part in the Multicultural Leadership Program. Visit our website at bn-

mlcp.org to learn more about MCLP and how to apply. Help spread the word about MCLP by following us on social media.

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